Brent Woods, MA, LPC
When There Aren’t Any Words...But So Many—A Response to George Floyd
I have no words. But then I could probably rant for pages and pages. The words in my head are so jumbled. Which isn’t like me. I’m a licensed therapist. I work with trauma victims daily. I work with clients on understating their emotions. But with this situation, its so hard to articulate what I feel. I feel anger, but then I feel deep pain for our society. This situation is indicative of how broken our society is.
What I saw was...dehumanizing.
I watched a man eat asphalt, gasping for air....breathe some of his last breaths in this world. George Floyd probably woke up that morning thinking it would just be a regular day. A normal day. The last thing on his mind was that he would suffocate on hot pavement and be taunted to get up. In his last moments, probably looking at bystanders (who were most likely in shock at everything going on) wishing anyone would help. Wishing the man with a knee on his neck would have mercy. But there was no mercy. No understanding. Just rage. Hate. Bitterness.
Yes, that is a brutal visual image. But its one that I will NOT forget.
It’s an image that follows closely to one from an older movie. American History X. In this movie, the main character is brought up surrounded by hate. Division. Heavily influenced by others‘ beliefs. Consumed by this hate, the main character kills an opposing gang member in the most brutal way possible. The main character goes to prison and has a life change, but towards the end of the movie, he loses his little brother due to instilling those values in him from so young. So there is loss in every part of this movie. NO ONE WINS.
HATE IS NOT WINNING
While this movie has many inferences and points, the main point I want to communicate is that HATE IS LEARNED. Hate is passed down generation to generation. WE HAVE TO BREAK THESE CYCLES!!!!
WHERE IS THE LOVE? WHERE IS THE UNITY? The Civil Rights Movement was over 50 years ago! Racism is still as present daily. Discrimination happens daily.
Race. Gender. Weight. Sexual Orientation. Religion. Age. (Shall I go on?)
How long are we going to continue this? When is enough, enough? It starts with each of us. We must individually make a commitment to change. We also must unite to make a change together. We have to love one another. We have to look at each other as brothers and sisters. Not look at others like some object. A thing. A number.
We have to fight pride. While we will never know what went on in those officers’ heads during those moments, I can assume that they were consumed with pride. They made a decision and stuck with it. No matter what the cost.
We have an opportunity here to make a change. It starts with each of us. It starts with you! Will you commit to change right now? Will you commit to get rid of the hate? It starts with a conscious effort. Then making that effort every day!
I grew up in a household in the south. Traditional white, blue collar family. I heard the “N” word daily. It was used in general language. Thrown around. As a kid, I remember this not making sense to me and thinking “we are all just people right”. I remember in 1st or 2nd grade, during art class, I drew a rebel flag. The teacher removed it from me and I didn’t understand why. It’s a memory I wish I could erase. But I can’t. It was in this time when I figured out something was wrong. This wasn’t right. But I had no idea how deep this whole thing went.
I then learned as I grew older that this isn’t something I want to do in my life. It all just seemed so negative. But yet I had to tolerate it. It was my family. How could I disrespect them and challenge them on their actions? As I went into high school, I grew tired of it. I promised myself that if I were to have children, they would not be exposed to this hate. We would have a household filled with love for each other and others.
AND THATS WHAT WE HAVE DONE!
It starts here! NOW! You can‘t go back in time. As much as I wish I could....I can‘t. But I chose when I learned it was wrong that I would be different. You can change now! Now is the right time. Stop waiting. Stop embracing the negativity.